Internships can be very helpful for students. They allow them to make connections in the industry while getting experience in the field they want to work in. Moreover, having student interns can also be an advantage for companies.
Now, while interns do work for the business, they are not always covered by the same benefits full-time employers get. For instance, they do not get health insurance coverage and sick leave. But sometimes, student interns wonder whether they qualify for coverage under the college’s workers’ compensation. After all, injuries can occur even when you’re an intern.
Keep reading to find out if you are eligible for compensation as a student intern.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation refers to a type of insurance that offers employees who got injured at the workplace money benefits. When a worker is injured or becomes ill because of their job, they have a right to receive compensation for their pain, suffering, and damage.
Workers’ compensation is mandatory in all states except Texas. So, before you think about whether you’re eligible for it or not, take your state into consideration.
Are Interns Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
This is a question that many interns ask, particularly student interns. Considering they are not usually covered by the same benefits as full-time workers, they may automatically think that workers’ compensation is something that isn’t accessible for them.
Most of the time, employers are required by law to provide their paid and unpaid interns with workers’ compensation. Yes, unpaid interns have this benefit too, especially if they have tasks and schedules that are under the employer’s control. All states have different laws when it comes to this, though.
A few exceptions apply too. For instance, student interns that perform non-manual work for things like charities, 501(c)(3)-designated religious groups, or educational institutions that offer non-manual services, interns will not get mandatory coverage. Fortunately, voluntary coverage is available in this case.
Different types of work fall under manual labor, such as:
- Playing musical instruments
- Shoveling snow
- Carrying different materials like books, binders, or pamphlets
- Moving furniture
- Mowing the lawn
Potential Injuries That Interns May Deal With at Work
There are numerous injuries that an intern can experience at work, even if they don’t work in a dangerous industry. Some of the most common ones that usually result in Workers’ Compensation claims are:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Sprains and strains of the joints
- Neck injuries
- Deep cuts
- Stress injuries that are repetitive
Can Your School Cover Your Workers’ Comp Claim Following an Injury?
If you’re a student intern and get injured, perhaps you hope that your school can cover your workers’ compensation claim. But what can you do when you file your claim, and it gets denied?
It will be very stressful and probably cost a lot, but you should consider reaching out to a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. The school is never responsible for the well-being, safety, or health of the intern, so the school insurance provider of the school will usually not want to cover any workers’ compensation claim of the student.
Most of the time, student interns work in low-risk industries. Injury is less likely to happen but still possible. So, it’s mandatory to know what to do when you’re in this situation.
What to Do If You Get Injured at Work as a Student Intern?
Even if you are a student intern, you should not waste time when it comes to taking action after a work-related injury.
The first thing you need to do is seek medical care as soon as possible. This ensures that your injuries get evaluated by an experienced professional and that any possible danger is eliminated while your injuries are treated.
Next, you should reach out to a Human Resources personnel representative and let them know what happened. Most likely, the business will have to fill out an accident report, which allows them to begin investigating the situation.
Then, it’s time to file your Workers’ Compensation benefits paperwork. Also, make sure to hire a good workers’ compensation lawyer in your state. New Jersey has its own laws for these cases which include insurers and companies asking intern students to go to certain doctors, so you may want a lawyer to be around for this.
There are certain cases when student interns can be eligible for workers’ compensation. So, make sure to hire the right lawyer who can help you understand your rights.